The 168th Battalion was authorized under order of the Minister of Militia and Defence, dated December 21,1915. The 168th infantry Battalion was organized and mobilized in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada by Lieut. Col. William Thomas McMullen. It was the second Oxford County unit assembled, the first being the 71st Battalion, organized in the fall of 1914.
Recruiting for this unit was carried on vigorously throughout the county, with a ready response from hundreds of young men answering their Country's call to Arms. Between January 1916 and the following May a total of 937 men had volunteered their services. During this mobilization period the troops were quartered in towns of Ingersoll, Norwich, Tillsonburg and Woodstock. Ingersoll troops were quartered in the McCarty House at the south west corner of Thames and Victoria Streets.
By May 1916 the 168th was completely mobilized and ready to be moved to London, Ontario on June 1st. From there they left for Camp Borden for more training. The fall of 1916 saw the unit at the Port of Halifax awaiting the voyage overseas.
On November 1, 1916 the men of the 168th saw the shores of their native Canada recede and fade as they sailed into the Alantic aboard the steamer "Lapland". Accompanying them were two other Battalions, the 161st and the 133rd. Their ship was part of a convoy escorted by warships. The voyage to England was apparently without any particular incidents, and the weather was described as fine. A ten days voyage brought the "Laplander" and her sister ships to Liverpool. The Battalion of Oxford boys was immediately entrained for West Sanding Camp for six weeks of further training. After this the unit was broken up, part being sent to the 39th Reserve Battalion and the remainder to the 12th Reserve Battalion. From these reserve units officers and men were sent from time to time as reinforcements to the 1st, 2nd, 18th, and 21st Canadian infantry units in the battle zones.
The list of those wounded and killed of Oxfords famous Battalion was quite a long one, yet it forms a glorious memorial of their valour and self sacrifice. Their blood has stained the soil of France at every battle of importance which took place after their arrival at the scene of hostilities, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Messines, Wytschaete, Passenhendale, Arras and Cambrai. Army reports state that 107 gave their lives, 208 were wounded, 7 missing, and 2 taken as prisoners.
If you have any addition information, please click here and fill out the form.
This site is dedicated to my uncle, Private Thomas Cussons.